CNN Anchor Knocks 'Often Ridiculed' Tea Party

CNN's Carol Costello went full bore after the Tea Party on Monday morning, mocking the movement as "often ridiculed" and quoting The Daily Beast's John Avlon calling Tea Party members of Congress "extremists."

"The Tea Party rises again orchestrating, thanks to large part to Senator Ted Cruz, a spending bill tied to defunding ObamaCare that may well lead to a government shutdown. This from a movement that according to Gallup only 22 percent of Americans support, and is often ridiculed," she snidely remarked.

With that logic, Costello could pick on some Democrats, including President Obama, as "often ridiculed." Yet she focused on the Tea Party, quoting The Daily Beast's John Avlon, a CNN regular, slamming the movement.

"I don't know if you heard what John Avlon said just a couple of minutes ago on our air, he said that extremists are running the government now, and by 'extremists' he means Tea Party extremists. How do you respond?" Costello asked Tea Party Express chairwoman Amy Kremer.

When Kremer noted that Democrats have not compromised on the law, Costello offered this take: "Well, you just said they have delayed parts of the law for big business." That was not a compromise, but rather President Obama circumventing the Legislative Branch to change existing law.

Below is a transcript of the segment, which aired on CNN Newsroom on September 30 at 10:14 a.m. EDT:

CAROL COSTELLO: The Tea Party rises again orchestrating, thanks to large part to Senator Ted Cruz, a spending bill tied to defunding ObamaCare that may well lead to a government shutdown. This from a movement that according to Gallup only 22 percent of Americans support, and is often ridiculed.

(Video Clip)

CONAN O'BRIEN, host, "Conan": People are still talking about Ted Cruz's 21-hour speech. 21 hours!

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: 21 hours.

O'BRIEN: During Ted Cruz's 21-hour anti-Obamacare speech on the Senate floor, he read a Dr. Seuss book. Cruz said it's the book he likes to read to kids when they're in the hospital wasting our taxpayers' resources.

(End Video Clip)

COSTELLO: Ouch, Amy leads the Tea Party Express, the group that actively persuaded members of Congress to do what they could to defend ObamaCare. Amy, welcome.

AMY KREMER, chairwoman, Tea Party Express: Thanks for having me.

COSTELLO: I don't know if you heard what John Avlon said just a couple of minutes ago on our air, he said that extremists are running the government now, and by "extremists" he means Tea Party extremists. How do you respond?

KREMER: I have to disagree with him. There is nothing extreme about this. Look, the House passed 40 something Democrats voted to delay the employer and individual mandate, and the House is our most direct form of representation. Those people are connected to their constituents and the Democrats voted with the Republicans. Why wouldn't Harry Reid take that up on the floor? We were going to end up at this point, it would have been over- spending --

COSTELLO: Let me ask you this, Amy, why would the Democrats when Obamacare was passed by both Houses of Congress, upheld by the United States Supreme Court as constitutional. President Obama was re-elected, so why should the Democrats compromise on this? Why should they?

KREMER: Because Carol, it's not working. It's not ready for implementation. This is the fact that –  

COSTELLO: It is the law of the land, why would they and why would you tie it to the budget?

KREMER: Prohibition was the law of the land too. The Democrats won't debate this. They won't just have these negotiations, they won't discuss this unless we're having it right now.

COSTELLO: The President did say he would discuss it.

KREMER: Look at right now. No one is talking to us. Twice now, we have sent CRs to the Senate. And we don't know what's going to happen now, but where's Harry Reid? Instead of going to work yesterday and calling them back into session, he's not there. The President is golfing over the weekend and where is the House?

They are there working. How can you negotiate anything when one side is unwilling to negotiate? The Republicans have negotiated. We wanted full repeal. We didn't get repeal. We wanted defund. We didn't get defund. Now we're saying okay, let's delay it for a year, and even Senator Joe Manchin came out and said he would support a one-year delay. He is a Democrat, and he is listening to the people. It's not working.

COSTELLO: Well some people might say that the Senate isn't negotiating right now because basically the House already lost. It can't win this battle, and it's going to continue fighting in the face of a government shutdown which is going to cost us $200 million a day.

KREMER: I disagree. The President and Harry Reid need to negotiate. What have they given so far? They've given nothing, and this is not working, the President stands up in Maryland and gives a speech, and then within an hour or two hours later the White House is admitting that the small business exchanges are not ready. Bad news after bad news after bad news.

And this is about fairness. He has given exemptions for delays for big business, special interests,  even Congress. I mean, what about fairness for the American people? This is about fairness. Why should the average middle-class American be, I mean, subjected to the ill-effects of this?

COSTELLO: But if the government shuts down, it will hurt the average middle-class Americans the most.

KREMER: Harry Reid wants the government to shut down. No Republican is advocating for a government shutdown.

COSTELLO: Everybody says no one wants the government to shut down, and if the Tea Party has only 22 percent approval rating from the American people, how it is representing a larger portion of America that wants what it wants?

KREMER: You know what? The thing is, our approval rating is still higher than Congress'. But Democrats are with us. They have said they support a one-year delay. So why not delay it? Why not delay it for a year and have that conversation? There's nothing wrong with that.

COSTELLO: You realize that the exchanges go into – they open up at midnight tonight. The health care exchanges.

KREMER: Not all of them are going to be open, because there's problems. This is a real issue, and I think Harry Reid is pushing this, because he thinks it's a political win for them in 2014, and quite honestly, I think this is a diversion from what is really going on with the ACA and how bad it really is. It's not ready for implementation. It's not. And to say otherwise is strictly not true.

COSTELLO: No. You're right. There are many, many problems with ObamaCare. I am not saying  there are not, I'm just saying most of America doesn't want it tied to the federal budget. They don't want to see it shut down. They want ObamaCare dealt with in another way. Why can't it be dealt with in another way?

COSTELLO: The thing is that they won't even negotiate with us on anything. Do you think that they're going to have this conversation another way? We would have ended up here because the President and Harry Reid threatened to shut down the government if the sequester was not rolled back. We would have ended up here because they believe this is a good political win for them come 2014. That is their objective.

COSTELLO: So just a final question, if the government shuts down, will it be a victory for you?

KREMER: No, I don't want the government to shut down. Nobody wants the government to shut down. No one does. We want to negotiate with Harry Reid and the President, and they won't negotiate with us. The President is talking to the Iranians, and he won't even talk to Republicans. That's ridiculous. Let's get together and have these discussions and see what we can work out. But we have given, we have made concessions. What have they given? Nothing. They have said –

COSTELLO: What concessions have you made?

KREMER: I just said, we went from repeal, now we're to delay. We wanted repeal, then defund, now we're at delay.

COSTELLO: But the end result is still getting rid of ObamaCare. You want to delay for a year, but isn't the ultimate goal still to get rid of ObamaCare?

KREMER: Well, obviously, right now –  

COSTELLO: Well, it is, right? That's what it is. That's the goal. So really it's not a compromise, because the final goal is to get rid of it?

KREMER: No, I think it is a compromise. We're at the C.R. We are allowing the President to spend at deficit spending levels. So, what have they given? What have they given to us? They've given nothing. Nothing.

COSTELLO: Well, you just said they have delayed parts of the law for big business. You've said that.

KREMER: Well, that is not part -- they have done – they did that back in the summer. So that's not part of what's going on here.

COSTELLO: Okay, well, we could argue this way forever, Amy.

Matt Hadro
Matt Hadro
Matt Hadro was a News Analyst for the Media Research Center's News Analysis Division from 2010 through early 2014